Thursday, March 21, 2019

Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia

Beautiful Broken Hearts
by Kami Garcia
Published by Imprint
February 6, 2018

Plot:  Her heart has to break before it can open.

When star soccer player Peyton Rios receives an offer from her first-choice college, senior year starts off exactly as planned. But when Peyton uncovers her boyfriend’s dark secret, she confronts him―and finds herself falling down a flight of stairs. Peyton’s knee―and maybe her dream of going pro―is shattered. Everyone is talking: Was she pushed, or did she fall? Peyton knows the truth, even if no one believes her.

He has to let someone in before it’s too late.
With her future on the line, Peyton goes to stay with her uncle in a small Tennessee town to focus on her recovery. Dating is the last thing on her mind―until she meets sweet, sexy Owen Law.

But Peyton doesn’t trust her heart, especially when she senses that Owen is hiding something. When their secrets are finally exposed, Peyton has to decide if love is worth fighting for. 

Review:  Beautiful Broken Hearts has all the feels!  It has betrayal, heartbreak, romance, and drama, drama, drama!  After a devastating fall down a flight of stairs, Peyton has not only lost her trust in her boyfriend, but may even lose her soccer scholarship to UNC.   Her mother thinks it's best for her to stay with her Uncle Hawk in the small town of Black Water, Tennessee to heal and avoid the harassing phone calls.   But, Peyton is not someone you can pushover and take advantage of.  She is determined to get through adjusting to a new school and rehabbing her knee so she can get back to soccer season as soon as possible.  

Everything is going according to plan until she meets Owen.  A boy who is determined to steal Peyton's heart.  But Owen has secrets of his own, and Peyton is not ready to deal with any more heartbreak.  I loved the relationship between Peyton and Owen, and the family protectiveness of her twin cousins, Christian and Cameron.  They were fun characters that not only drove Peyton crazy but created a comic relief to the seriousness of Peyton's situation. 

This is a story that reflects a time in the author's life.  Ms. Garcia also dealt with a boyfriend that abused steroids and the effects from it.  This is not your everyday high school love story, but also of about being strong enough to get out of an abusive relationship.  If you loved the Lovely Reckless (also by Kami Garcia), then you'll love this book!  Recommended for 17+

Note: This book has some explicit language and there is one chapter with sexual content.

*A DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating:  4.5 Hearts!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Writing Picture Books (Revised and Expanded Edition) by Ann Whitford Paul

Writing Picture Books 
(Revised and Expanded Edition)
by Ann Whitford Paul
Published by Writer's Digest
November 13, 2018
266 pages

REVIEW:  Writing pictures can be a little tricky and Ann Whitford Paul's book, Writing Picture Books (Revised and Expanded Edition) really helps you to not only structure your story but to identify your audience as well.  This is important because it can directly impact how you write your story - especially in regards to the reading level. The book is organized into six parts. Parts one and two help you to identify your audience before you even start writing, and some early story decisions, such as your outline and characters.  Parts three and four focus on the structure of your story and how your story will be written, including word counts and rhyming.  Parts five and six talk about wrapping it all together, making a mock-up book, and what to do after your done, such as sharing and publishing.  

What I love about this book is that it is full of information that will help you to write, polish, and submit your manuscript for publication.  There is a good section on the publishing business, self-publishing, and even what to do when a publisher makes an offer.  I also liked how the author helps you to examine whether self-publishing makes more sense for you.  This is a great resource for beginners or struggling authors looking for a game changer in publishing more picture books!  If you want to write picture books, then you must read this book!

*A DRC was given for an honest review.


How to Write a Page Turner: Craft a Story Your Readers Can't Put Down by Jorden Rosenfeld

by Jordan Rosenfeld
Published by Writer's Digest Books
March 19, 2019
240 pages

REVIEW:  Jordan Rosenfeld's How to Write A Page Turner is one of those books on writing that you need by your side at all times when writing and editing your book!  What a great resource for beginning and intermediate writers!  There is something to learn and take away from every section.  Rosenfeld mainly focuses on developing tension (also called suspense) throughout the story, not just in the scenes.  She breaks it down into four parts: Essential Tension Elements, Tension with Characters, Plot Tension, and Tension in Exposition.  There are so many great examples within each of these sections.  Rosenfeld really gives you a well-defined understanding of how to apply them to your dialogue, scenes, character development, overall plot, and settings.  

Overall, this book provides a lot of key nuggets on taking your writing to the next level. I highly recommend this book to writers who need help in igniting that page-turning spark with their readers.  Perfect for teens and adults!  Definitely a must-have in print!

*Received a DRC for an honest review


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Lone Star Book Blogger Tour: A TENDER HOPE by Amanda Cabot ***Author Interview & Giveaway***

The Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Book 3
Amanda Cabot
Genre: Historical Romance / Inspirational
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 5, 2019
Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for the giveaway!

As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it's time for a change. With her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek's midwife, she has no intention of remarrying and trying for another child. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn't sure her heart Can take it.
Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn't concerned only with the baby's welfare. He's been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated--and he'll need Thea's help if he's ever to find the justice he seeks. Amanda Cabot invites readers back to Cimarron Creek for a tender story of loss, betrayal, and love in the majestic Texas Hill Country.
"Such beautiful words flow from Amanda Cabot's pen--words that lead characters from tattered situations to fresh beginnings and culminate in tender story endings that make a reader sigh in satisfaction. I've never been disappointed by a Cabot tale." -- Kim Vogel Sawyer, bestselling author of Bringing Maggie Home

CLICK TO ORDER ON: Baker Book House  ┃  Amazon  ┃  Barnes & Noble  ┃  ┃  Books-A-Million  ┃  Kobo  ┃ Get It Local Today ┃

Interview with Amanda Cabot

A Tender Hope is the third book in the trilogy. Does it stand alone?
Yes, it can stand alone, but – and this is a big “but” – I think readers will enjoy it more if they’ve read the first two books, since this is the culmination of the series and the place where I wrap up the mystery of Aunt Bertha’s daughter and granddaughter that I introduced in A Stolen Heart.

Whew. Do you think that sentence was long enough? If you keep reading this interview, you’ll discover why I write sentences that my husband claims are as long as chapters.

A Tender Hope is the last book of the trilogy; what can readers next expect?
I’m hard at work on the second book of a new (yet unnamed) trilogy, also set in the Texas Hill Country. (As you’ve probably guessed from the number of books I’ve set there, I love the Hill Country.) I don’t have a firm publication date, but I expect the first book to be released in March 2020.

Here’s a brief introduction to the series. It’s 1856, and life in Mesquite Springs, Texas, a rapidly growing town in the Hill Country, is changing. With the influx of new residents come new businesses – an expanded restaurant, the town’s first newspaper, and a luxurious hotel – as well as new dangers. It’s against this backdrop that three couples discover love and adventure.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 
Saying goodbye to the characters. It’s always a bittersweet moment when I put the final touches on a series. Even though I already had a contract for the next series and was excited about bringing a new town to life, I hated to leave Cimarron Creek.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Giving multiple couples their happily-ever-after. Although most of my books have a single romance, A Tender Hope has three couples who are ready to walk down the aisle by the time it ends. For a hopeless romantic like me, writing those scenes was pure fun.

How has your formal education influenced or impacted your writing?
I had what would now be called a classical education in junior-senior high school (grades seven through twelve) and studied both French and Latin during that time. Learning to speak French and studying in France during college gave me a deep love for the country and led to the “French connection” in a number of my books. Readers may recall that the fictional town of Ladreville, the site of my first trilogy for Revell, featured immigrants from Alsace-Lorraine. As if that weren’t enough, A Tender Hope has a character who’s been raised as a Frenchwoman.

Six years of Latin had a different but equally important influence. As strange as it may sound, reading famous orations in the original Latin helped develop my writing style. Yes, those long sentences with dependent clauses are the result of all those years of Latin.

What do your plans for future projects include?
Funny you should ask that. Even though I’m less than halfway through the new series and rarely think about new projects at this stage, last week I read a fascinating book, Wayne Ludwig’s The Old Chisholm Trail. His descriptions of life on the trail and the problems cattle drovers faced more than piqued my interest. They started ideas for new stories chasing each other through my brain. Will they turn into a full-fledged series? It’s too soon to know, but I hope so.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?
Crater Lake National Park. As a child, I had a book about the national parks – one of those books with stickers that you placed on each page as you finished it – and Crater Lake was my favorite one. The closest I’ve been is in an airplane, looking down, but I’d love to see it from ground level.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming.

 ║Website ║ Facebook ║  BlogBookBub  ║ Twitter Goodreads 



1ST: Copy of A Tender Hope + Spa Basket
(An assortment of Cru de Provence lavender 
vanilla scented spa products fills this lovely basket 
including: lotions, soap, bath salts, 
waffle slippers and much more.)

2ND: Copy of A Tender Hope + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

3RD: Copy of A Tender Hope + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

APRIL 5-15, 2018
Character Interview
Bonus Post
Author Interview
Scrapbook Page
Series Spotlight
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Saturday, March 2, 2019

Fireblood (Bk 2 of Frostblood Series) by Elly Blake

By Elly Blake
Publisher: Little, Brown
416 pages

Plot: Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his powerful throne. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby's powers and past....

Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fireblood queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax--which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, how can Ruby decide whom to trust? The fate of both kingdoms is now in her hands.  (2019, Amazon)

Review: Fireblood continues the story of Ruby and Arcus and it does not disappoint! Ruby and Arcus have a tough situation now that Arcus is King. He wants only Ruby by his side, but the Frostblood kingdom has a long way to go before they would ever accept a Fireblood queen.  With the Minax still a threat, Ruby decides to travel to the Fireblood kingdom to search for a book that might hold the key to defeating the Minax once and for all.  Escorting her is Kai, a mysterious fireblood who is more than what he seems.  And, after spending more and more time with him, Ruby is now confused as to where her future lies.  

A new world awaits Ruby in the Fireblood kingdom and she may have signed up for more than what she bargained for.  With a Fireblood Queen who doesn't completely trust her, Ruby will have to do whatever it takes to prove her loyalty.  An exciting sequel with lots of plot twists and turns! The perfect buildup to the last book in the series.  Can't wait to read Nightblood!

*Received a DRC for an honest review.

Book 3: Nightblood 

Rating: 4 Hearts!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Lone Star Book Blogger Tour: VORTEX by Kimberly Packard ***AUTHOR INTERVIEW & ENTER GIVEAWAY***

Genre: Women's Fiction / Psychological
Publisher: Abalos Publishing
Publication Date: January 31, 2019
Number of Pages: 308 pages


Constant spinning, round and round and round, temperatures rise and fall from stifling heat to chilling cold, emotions run high in anticipation of what will happen next… there’s a fine line between surviving a tornado and falling in love.
A close encounter with a tornado, during the final months of her doctoral studies, jogs a lost memory to the surface. Desperate to relive the vision and find answers, storm chaser Elaina Adams continually puts her safety at risk by placing herself in the path of dangerous storms.
When betrayal strikes, Elaina is forced to pair up with Robert Tucker. “Tuck” owns a storm chasing tour group and only cares about two things: chasing tornadoes and making his next buck.
Seth Maddux was climbing his way to the top as the star meteorologist for the Forecast channel, but an embarrassing outburst on camera sent his career on a downward spiral. Hoping to reignite his career with a promising field assignment, he meets Elaina and a different kind of flame sparks.
Family secrets surface and passions explode in this twister of a tale.
Vortex is a story of family, love, identity and determination set against the thrilling backdrop of Tornado Alley. 



How has being a Texan influenced your writing?
Being a Texan has influenced my writing in a number of ways. First off, there’s that grit and determination all Texans are born with. Tell us something can’t be done, and we’ll do it. There’s also a rich texture of characters in Texas -- the people we grow up with and get to know. Texans are kind, diverse, smart, fierce, and loyal. And, there’s the landscape. A thousand worlds are right here in this beautiful state.

Where did your love of books come from?
My love of books came from my parents. As a kid, I didn’t get every toy I wanted, but I could have any book I wanted. And I think my love of storytelling has always been there. I knew since I was a kid that I wanted to be a writer. I even wrote to children’s author Beverly Cleary as a child to ask her how to become a writer. She wrote me back and her advice was read everything I can and write every day.

How do you decide if your main characters will be male or female?
In Vortex and my Phoenix trilogy, these main characters are women. For a few reasons, the genre I write in (women’s fiction) is mostly about a woman’s journey. But also, for these characters, it’s about finding their voice, their identity. But then, for my work-in-progress, when the story first came to me, I was certain the main character would be a man (because he was the first to speak to me). But while I was forming this story, I realized another character, a woman, had the most growth in this story, so she moved into the spotlight; but Jimmy is still there, just on the outer edges. And what I love about this story’s dueling POVs is these characters’ relationship is plutonic. Women and men can be friends; they don’t always have to be romantic partners.

What do your plans for future projects include?
I read a little bit of everything, so it makes sense that I want to write a little bit of everything. My next few women’s fiction ideas are stand-alone titles, but I’m toying with an urban fantasy, nine-book series that I’d like to do in the future. You know, in all my free time.

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?
I’m actually in the process of completing my writing room, but it does have something I’ve wanted since I was a little girl – a window seat.

Do you have a mantra for writing?
My writing mantra, especially when I’m just starting a new story, is that I’m writing a first draft, not a final draft. It’s Ok to get a little messy with it; I can come back and clean it up later. Write with reckless abandon, and edit ruthlessly.

"Set in the heart of America’s Tornado Alley, Kimberly Packard’s latest psychological fiction swirls with discovery and betrayal. VORTEX may make you question who among those closest to you are really your friends." -- Addison Brae, author of Becker Circle "Vortex is a fast-paced story with a strong woman at its center. Readers will be in for a wild ride full of secrets, the labyrinth of memory, and the spark of romance. Definitely one to add to your reading list." -- Christine Brodersen, author of Lip Gloss, Shame and Murdered Tomatoes "Kimberly Packard is an accomplished author who writes strong women characters. She blew me away with her Phoenix series (three books you don’t want to miss) and now in Vortex, we meet Elaina Adams, who, like all of us, struggles with her past, her career, and her family secrets. Action, and emotion-packed, this page-turner is a different kind of love story." -- Vanessa Foster, author of More than Everything 

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of edgy women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs. When she isn’t writing, she can be found running, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book. She resides in Texas with her husband Colby, a clever cat named Oliver and a yellow lab named Charlie. Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. She is also the author of a Christmas novella, The Crazy Yates, and the sequels to Phoenix, Pardon Falls and Prospera Pass.


FIRST PRIZE: Signed Copy  +  $5 Amazon gift card + Bookmark
SECOND PRIZE: Signed Copy + Bookmark
TWO WINNERS: eBook copies

FEBRUARY 19-28, 2019
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Author Interview
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Deleted Scene
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